Media Releases | 24th Apr, 2009

Green jobs the answer to environment and economic woes

Friday, 24 April 2009

A ground-breaking summit examining Victoria’s potential to become a world leader in green jobs will be held today in Melbourne.

The summit, Victoria: The Green Jobs State, has been organised by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Environment Victoria and will involve more than 180 of the state’s business, government, union, social sector and environment leaders.

Over the course of the day, summit attendees will develop the foundations for a Green Jobs Plan for Victoria and will hear from key speakers including Jacinta Allan, the Victorian Minister for Skills and Workforce Participation, entrepreneur Evan Thornley and Australian Council of Trade Unions President Sharan Burrow.

Environment Victoria’s CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy, said Victoria, like the rest of the world, was facing the twin challenges of climate change and economic downturn.

“The smart response to these challenges is to develop green jobs that bolster the economy, protect low-income communities and reduce greenhouse emissions,” she said.

“Those with vested interests have for too long said that action on climate change will destroy our economy. But the truth is that globally millions of new, low-carbon jobs will be created and Victoria could reap tremendous economic rewards if it acts now.

“Environment Victoria has also released a report today to coincide with the summit, which uses a series of green jobs case studies to demonstrate that more than 25,000 new jobs could be created in just five industries in Victoria while delivering substantial greenhouse gas emission cuts.”

However, Brotherhood of St Laurence Executive Director Tony Nicholson warned that the new jobs would not just emerge. “New green jobs need to be supported through deliberate policy measures and improved workforce training. Our aim is to identify these needs at today’s summit,” he said.

Mr Nicholson said that investment in green jobs and training should be expanded as part of state and federal economic stimulus measures. “This will help ensure all Victorians participate in the emerging green economy,” he said.

“For example, social enterprises auspiced by community organisations, where disadvantaged trainees gain work skills, are an effective way to develop highly employable “green collar” skills. Already such enterprises run household energy efficiency programs, installing insulation, blinds and so on in public housing.

“Such social enterprises are creating skills and jobs that will be more in demand in a “low-carbon” economy and also giving disadvantaged people a stake in combating climate change.”

Environment Victoria and the Brotherhood of St Laurence are heartened that the Victorian Government has committed to developing a Green Jobs and Economy Plan and trust that today’s summit will identify what it will take for Victoria to be a world leader in green jobs.

Read Environment Victoria’s Green Jobs report here

Read The Age feature on Environment Victoria’s Green Jobs report

Read The Age news story reporting on the events of the Green Jobs summit